Woman was living behind store’s rooftop sign for a year with desk, flooring, houseplant

Woman was living behind store’s rooftop sign for a year with desk, flooring, houseplant

A 34-year-old woman was found living in a Michigan supermarket’s rooftop sign, and inside her compact space where she lived for roughly a year was a mini desk, flooring, clothing, a pantry of food, a printer and a houseplant, police said.

Contractors working on the roof of a Family Fare Supermarket in Midland discovered the woman on April 23 inhabiting the sign, Brennon Warren, spokesperson for the Midland Police Department, told USA TODAY.

“(The contractors) had seen an extension cord leading from one of the rooftop units to this particular sign where she had been living,” according to Warren.

The Family Fare sign the woman was living in “isn’t a normal sign” and not like ones seen “on the side of Target or Walmart,” Warren said. There’s a 10 to 15-foot hollow peak at the top of the supermarket’s roof where the sign is placed inside, and a 3 by 4-foot access door behind the sign, according to the officer.

“Definitely big enough to kind of get into,” Warren said.

How did Midland police get the woman to leave the sign?

Once the contractors found the woman, they alerted the supermarket’s management who called Midland police, according to Warren. When officers went up on the roof to speak to the woman, “she came right to the door and basically said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m leaving,'” the spokesperson said.

Officers did not formally charge the woman, but she was trespassed from the property, Warren said. The woman “fully understood and she agreed not to go back,” he added.

Midland police also provided the woman with some information on available services in the area to help with her housing issue, but she “didn’t wish for any of those,” according to Warren.

‘We are proud of our associates’

The woman vacated the supermarket’s sign that same day, but she had to leave some of her property behind because “she couldn’t take all of it with her,” according to the spokesperson. The store connected with the woman and is helping her move her remaining belongings, Warren said.

“We are proud of our associates for responding to this situation with the utmost compassion and professionalism,” the Family Fare Supermarkets chain said in an emailed statement to USA TODAY. “Ensuring there is ample safe, affordable housing continues to be a widespread issue nationwide that our community needs to partner in solving.”

Woman dubbed the “Rooftop Ninja’

The public dubbed the woman the “Rooftop Ninja” due to her living in the sign and evading detection for about a year, Warren said.

“People would see her from time to time and then all of a sudden she would vanish,” according to the spokesperson. “No one really knew where she went but no one ever indicated or thought that she would be up on top of the roof.”

Police do not know how the woman got up on the roof so often, and she did not tell them how, Warren said.

“In my 10-year career here in Midland I have never seen a situation like this before,” according to the spokesperson “You never would think this would happen, but I wish the best for her.”

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